woke up saturday morning, gleeful to be naturally waking rather than by my
mobile cell phone [still haven't gotten an alarm clock, natch!]. opening my eyes, i came to the realization that the madness isn’t quite over yet. although two visitors from london had just departed, and two more long-lost friends were on their way… and, i still have tons of unpacking to do, furniture to buy, paint to slather.
looking out the window, i saw a shockingly bright sun smiling at me, so i did what any normal vampire would do… i slinked off to the cinema for a matinĂ©e.
côte d’azur was a cute, satisfying french film. one of those great films where the characters’ secret lives intertwine, resulting in a giant love-quadrangle between mom and dad and gay lover and daughter and son and straight boyfriend and… you get the idea.
life has been so rampantly plugged in for me the past few weeks, it was very satisfying to sit in a dark cinema by myself, munching sloppily on popcorn, slurping loudly on my diet coke, and laughing way too loudly. it was just what i neededâ€”there’s sometimes no greater joy than being anonymous, being invisible, being unreachable.
my mind wandered twice during the film… each time for quite a few minutes. the film was very vividly set in côte d’azur, a gorgeous coastal village in the french riviera, and most of the film involved this very french family frolicking as only the europeans know how… singing, dancing, picnicking, sunbathing nude and riding around on bicycles.
the first time my mind wandered was right at the start of the film, as the dialog began, and the subtitles popped up on screen. listening to them speak french, and noticing how obviously french the men in the film all looked, i was immediately reminded of micha, the lovely french lad who seduced meâ€”through this very blogâ€”just some four months earlier.
i didn’t really talk here about our rapid courtship and romance and long-distance love affairâ€”much. out of the blue, this talldarkandhandsome lad starts sending me cryptic flirtatious messages from paris, saying how much he adores me and my blog, next thing i know, i’m blindsided with stereotypical, storybook parisian romance, feeding each other macaroons in a park in some arrondissement one afternoon, and later climbing up the steps of monument in london just a few days later.
we knew from the beginning that i was leaving london, leaving europe, taking a one-way rocketship to planet california. that’s not to say i didn’t open up my heart to him, and he, his to me, and it’s not to say that he’s not missed. this french film definitely took me back to that afternoon in paris, his oh-so-slight accent, and the very french way he chain smoked.
just shortly after this little daydream, still only a few minutes into the film, my mind wandered again… on screen the family were taking a break from getting their summer house ready, and setting up outside for a very european lunch. crusty bread, meats and cheeses, wine and bottle d water. all the while, bugs flying around and the waves crashing just within earshot.
the scene was entirely too familiar, and took me back to my two very formative summers in germany when i was a teenâ€”in particular that first summer in rural east germany, camping for weeks at a time in a out-of-the-way park on the lake. sitting around plastic picnic tables, just like the film, relaxing and laughing and smearing cheese on crusty bread.
i spent that summer sending awkward postcards to my girlfriend, thousands of miles away in indiana, whilst spending 18 hours a day frolicking with my friends. a mixture of adolescent hormones and platonic friendship, die jünge [the boys] and i spent sunup to sundown swimming and cycling and playing pool and cards and volleyball, and most evenings drinking and laughing. my german was always better after a few cans of lager.
in the same way that your mind needs r.e.m. sleep to organize itself and your memories, i think my brain took advantage of these moments of downtime in the dark cinema to catch up with the crazy pace my life’s been leading… and to reconcile the different segmented versions of eric that have been traipsing around the world.
how very hollywood of me to seek refuge in a cinema, and for film to provide therapy?